U.S. President Donald Trump cited his decision to not label China a currency manipulator as an example of "flexibility," saying he made the decision against his campaign pledge because Beijing is helping solve the problem of North Korea.
"For me to call him a currency manipulator and then say, 'By the way, I'd like you to solve the North Korean problem' doesn't work. So you have to have a certain flexibility," Trump said in an interview with the Associated Press, according to a transcript released by the AP on Sunday.
Moreover, Trump said China has not manipulated its currency since he took office.
"President Xi, from the time I took office, he has not, they have not been currency manipulators. Because there's a certain respect because he knew I would do something or whatever," Trump said, referring to Chinese President Xi Jinping.
That was the only North Korea-related part of the interview.
Trump believes that China should exercise its leverage as the main energy and food provider for the North to rein in the communist regime in Pyongyang.
Since his first summit meetings with Xi earlier this month, Trump has repeatedly praised China for trying to increase pressure on the North while at the same time holding out the prospect of a better trade deal with the U.S. if China solves the problem.
China is North Korea's last-remaining major ally and a key provider of food and fuel supplies. But it has been reluctant to use its influence over Pyongyang for fears that pushing the regime too hard could result in instability in the North and hurt Chinese national interests.
Analysts say that Beijing has often increased pressure on the North in the past, especially when Pyongyang defied international appeals and carried out nuclear and missile tests and other provocative acts, but it never went as far as to cause real pain to the North.(Yonhap)